1This Dialogue is printed in the Gentlemanís Magazine for February and March, 1758.
"London, 19th December, 1767.
"We have had an ugly affair at the Royal Society lately. One Dacosta, a Jew, who, as our clerk, was intrusted with collecting our moneys, has been so unfaithful as to embezzle near thirteen hundred pounds in four years. Being one of the Council this year, as well as the last, I have been employed all the last week in attending the inquiry into, and unravelling, his accounts, in order to come at a full knowledge of his frauds. His securities are bound in one thousand pounds to the Society, which they will pay, but we shall probably lose the rest. He had this year received twenty-six admission payments of twenty-five guineas each, which he did not bring to account.
"While attending to this affair, I had an opportunity of looking over the old council-books and journals of the Society, and, having a curiosity to see how I came in, of which I had never been informed, I looked back for the minutes relating to it. You must know, it is not usual to admit persons that have not requested to be admitted; and a recommendatory certificate in favour of the candidate, signed by at least three of the members, is by our rule to be presented to the Society, expressing that he is desirous of that honour, and is so and so qualified. As I never had asked, or expected the honour, I was, as I said before curious to see how the business was managed. I found that the certificate, worded very advantageously for me, was signed by Lord Macclesfield, then President, Lord Parker, and Lord Willoughby; that the election was by a unanimous vote; and, the honour being voluntarily conferred by the Society, unsolicited by me, it was thought wrong to demand or receive the usual fees or composition; so that my name was entered on the list with a vote of Council, that I was not to pay anything. And accordingly nothing has ever been demanded of me. Those who are admitted in the common way, pay five guineas admission fees, and two guineas and a half yearly contributions, or twenty-five guineas down, in lieu of it. In my case a substantial favour accompanied the honour."